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WASHINGTON, January 15, 22:54 /ITAR-TASS/. Signing of a hypothetical barter agreement by Moscow and Teheran, under which the two sides would swap Iranian crude oil for Russia-made commodities, might be fraught with U.S. sanctions against participants in the transaction, White House spokesman Jay Carney told a press briefing Wednesday.
He said it when a reporter asked him if the U.S. Administration had gotten “an explanation from either the Iranians and the Russians” concerning last week’s media allegations that Iran and Russia were mulling over a swap of that kind.
“We remain very concerned about these reports, as Secretary /of State John/ Kerry expressed directly to his Russian counterpart /Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - Itar-Tass/,” Carney said. “And if the reports are true, such a deal would raise serious concerns as it would be inconsistent with the terms of the P5-plus-1 agreement with Iran and could potentially trigger U.S. sanctions.”
The P5-plus-1 stands for five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany as a combined party negotiating with Iran the future of the latter nation’s nuclear programs.
“This is about action, not about words; not about how things are characterized, but how things are done,” Carney said referring to the general situation about the alleged agreement.
“It could potentially, if true as reported, trigger U.S. sanctions because it would not be consistent with the agreement negotiated between the P5-plus-1 and Iran,” he said. “We’re continuing to look into this and we’re expressing those concerns.”
A number of Western media came up with the assertions last Friday saying that Moscow and Teheran were conducting talks on a swap pattern, under which Russia would get up to 500,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil a day and would supply Russian commodities to Iran in exchange.
The media rumors suggested that the transactions would amount to $ 1.5 billion a month.
In the meantime, Itar-Tass quoted the Iranian Oil Ministry in a report from Teheran on Saturday as saying no such agreement was being drafted.